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#112 The Unbearable Heaviness of Being a Story Editor

Back in my office, I called Ray to give him the good news. He was elated. One of the best things about being a story editor is delivering good news to writers. “Your story springboard was approved, now write the treatment.” “Your treatment was approved, now write the script.” “Your script was approved, now submit an invoice.”

It would be nice if being a story editor was always that easy and pleasant. It’s not. There’s a lot of work between delivering all that good news – helping writers to mold their springboards so they have the best chance of getting approved. Killing parts that fall flat. Adding a word or an idea here and there to buff it up. Doing a line edit on a treatment when it’s needed, so the treatment comes into ‘house style’ and works with the rest of the series. And then there’s work to do on the writers’ script – sometimes a little here and there because the treatment has already been molded. Sometimes there’s a lot of work that has to be done because the writer has gone off track. Those are the times that story editors earn their pay.

I’d come to realize that story editors also spend a good amount of their time dealing with sometimes fragile egos and personalities, trying not to ‘traumatize’ them with comments and criticisms.

As I’ve said, I come from a mercantile family, so I have always viewed my work as a product. Sure, it’s a part of me and I care for it deeply. But in the final analysis I’ve always felt my writing is merchandize to be placed into the marketplace where it will hopefully find ‘customers’ who care about it as much as I do. That’s not the case for all writers. In fact, that’s not the case for most writers…as I’d learn down the road.


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